Published On: Mon, Jan 1st, 2018

Diabetes Drug ‘Significantly Reverses Memory Loss’ In Mice With Alzheimer’s, Study

Diabetes drug originally created to treat type 2 could bring substantial improvements in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease

 

 

A drug developed to treat type 2 diabetes could be used to treat Alzheimer’s after scientists found it “significantly reversed memory loss” in mice.

The drug helped not only cut the volume of amyloid plaques linked to the degenerative brain disorder, it also raised levels of a chemical which helps brain cells function, University of Lancashire researchers found.

Lead researcher Professor Christian Holscher, said that the novel treatment “holds clear promise of being developed into a new treatment for chronic neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

“Clinical studies with an older version of this drug type already showed very promising results in people with Alzheimer’s disease or with mood disorders. or with mood disorders,” he said.

The research, published in Brain Research, could bring substantial improvements in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and the numbers are expected to rise to two million people in the UK by 2051 according to Alzheimer’s Society, who part- funded the research.

Dr Doug Brown, Director at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “With no new treatments in nearly 15 years, we need to find new ways of tackling Alzheimer’s. It’s imperative that we explore whether drugs developed to treat other conditions can benefit people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. This approach to research could make it much quicker to get promising new drugs to the people who need them.”

Dr Brown added: “Although the benefits of these ‘triple agonist’ drugs have so far only been found in mice, other studies with existing diabetes drugs such as liraglutide have shown real promise for people with Alzheimer’s, so further development of this work is crucial.”

This is the first time that a triple receptor drug has been used which acts in multiple ways to protect the brain from degeneration. Problems with growth factor signalling have been shown to be impaired in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

The study used mice, which are transgenic mice that express human mutated genes that cause Alzheimer’s. Those genes have been found in people who have a form of Alzheimer’s that can be inherited. Professor Holscher said: “These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes but have shown consistent neuro- protective effects in several studies.”

Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and has been implicated in the progression of the disease. Impaired insulin has been linked to cerebral degenerative processes in type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Insulin desensitisation has also been observed in the Alzheimer’s disease brain. The desensitisation could play a role in the development of neurodegenerative disorders as insulin is a growth factor with neuroprotective properties.

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